Well it was quite the interesting week for Rider fans and CFL fans.
For the Riders, there was the release of defensive back, Justin Cox, following an arrest on domestic violence and the release of linebacker, Greg Jones, who lost his job to Canadian Henoc Muamba.
In the rest of the CFL there were the interviews of Jeremy O’Day for the position of GM of the Edmonton Eskimos and the apparent interest in Tom Higgins and then Brock Sutherland, assistant GM of Ottawa being interviewed by Edmonton. Then there was the trade of receiver SJ Green from Montreal to Toronto and the release of 10 players by Montreal.
Montreal then signed free agent receiver, Devon Bailey, formerly of Edmonton, who then had receiver, Nate Coehoorn retire after getting his bonus and then Odell Willis talking about Coehoorn being soft and not taking a pay cut like a number of other Eskimos, which begs the question of where Edmonton is regarding the salary cap.
In Winnipeg former Rider, Corvey Irvin, retires after signing with the Bombers, although it appears he may have been training camp fodder, and Winnipeg is looking at another $35 million to deal with repairs to Investor Group Field, or Dollarama Field as I like to call it, to fix things like drainage.
The Argos may have been late with getting Jim Popp and Marc Trestman in place, but besides adding Green, they also signed Jeff Parrett, formerly of Montreal, and then put Jimm Clausen, formerly of Notre Dame and who worked with Trestman in Chicago and Baltimore on the Negotiation List.
In Saskatchewan everything seems on pace to open new Mosaic Field with no problems, yet, but as the Riders take the field in Florida on Monday with 40 players and look to bring 20-25 to training camp, there are questions everywhere else.
The release of Cox was justified and yet raised questions in some quarters about the Riders propensity to take risks with players with either questionable legal history (Cox and to some extent kicking the tires on Greg Hardy) or those with interesting injury listings (Lynden Gaydosh). Former Rider, GM Roy Shivers, once said there is a reason these players are up in the CFL, and the CFL has served as a second chance or perhaps an opportunity taken that was missed by NFL teams on some players.
Jones has a history of liking players with an edge and he likes reclamation projects, so the initial chance on Cox was understandable. After being signed, it is incumbent on the player to either recognize he has an opportunity to demonstrate why deserves to have a chance to play or deal with the reasons why he didn’t get signed in the NFL.
Cox did a good job as a defensive back and some regarded him as an NFL talent who would have made it back to the show if he demonstrated he could keep his nose clean in the CFL. His loss means the Riders need to add defensive back to their shopping list at camp.
Most eyes will be on the quarterback position, especially Vince Young, who released a training video designed to show he is in shape. No one doubts Young is in shape, but the real question is whether Young can handle the demands of the Canadian game.
In keeping with the new Rider tradition of rolling the dice, the Riders have no money in advance to Young and if he doesn’t make the team, it won’t hurt the Riders salary cap situation. The big question is whether the Rider investment in Young would distract from developing another young quarterback or trading for one in either Montreal or Edmonton.
The mini camp will feature all the quarterbacks signed to the Riders in addition to rookies and players who have not played in the CFL. The Riders have been running free agent camps all over the United States since the end of the CFL season and will likely concentrate on defensive back, linebacker, defensive lineman, perhaps an offensive lineman and running back.
The Riders and the rest of the CFL will have the CFL draft coming up on May 7th and then after the NFL draft they will hold a few more free agent camps before starting with their own training camp.
So this is what the Rider roster tentatively looks like heading into next week, but as we’ve seen with Cox and Jones, things can change at a moment’s notice.
QB- Bryan Bennett, Brandon Bridge, Kevin Glenn, GJ Kinne, Vince Young
RB- Kienan LaFrance, Cameron Marshall, Greg Morris, Daniel Thomas
FB- Spencer Moore, Aaron Milton
OT- Terrence Campbell, Thaddeus Coleman, Derek Dennis, Kennedy Estelle, Jarriel King
OG- Brendon Labatte, Josiah St. John, Dillon Guy, Ryan White
C- Dan Clark, Matt Vonk
REC- Rob Bagg, Mitchell Baines, Kadron Boone, Duron Carter, Ricky Collins Jr, Joe Craig, Nic Demski, Armanti Edwards, Bakari Grant, Caleb Holley, Thomas Mayo, Chad Owens, Naaman Roosevelt, Joshua Stanford
DE- Ivan Brown, Kaelin Burnett, Willie Jefferson, A.C. Leonard, Jonathan Newsome, Jordan Reaves
DT- Linden Gaydosh, Makana Henry, Kenny Horsley, Greg Millhouse, Zach Minter, Ese Mrabure, Derrick Lott, Eddie Steele
OLB- Samuel Eguavoen, Kevin Francis, Glenn Love
MLB- Marvin Golding, Dillon Grondin, Henoc Muamba
DB- Royce Adams, Tevaughn Campbell, Erick Dargan, Ed Gainey, Tyler Hunter, Kacy Rodgers
S- Marc-Olivier Brouillette, Jeff Hecht, Kelvin Muamba,
LS- Jorgen Hus
K/P- Robin Bartel, Tyler Crapigna, Quinn Van Gylswyk
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